Still, one might at least figure that, talking dolphin tales aside, some grounding in reality is required. Or not.
It would be helpful if Henninger might bother to unpack some small part of all this, but of course he won't, because he -- and they -- have far too much invested at this point. His first point does not even pass muster as a qualified polemic -- it's just asinine. It requires forgetting, though Henninger himself reminds in the subsequent paragraphs, that the very problem is the sorry conflation of religion and politics. Of course, it has always been thus, since Levantine tribesmen were formalizing the specific by-laws for picking nits off one another's backsides. But we are at least supposed to maintain the pretense here of church and state separation, and that facade has crumbled steadily in the face of winger onslaughts.
Could that be the cause for "radical atheist" blowback? Henninger's unsure, but he's not going to pass judgment on the bizarrely ironic notion of self-righteous Episcopalians, in a notoriously neo-confederate part of the country, overtly aligning themselves with a crazy Nigerian who seriously believes that homosexuals should be thrown in jail.
As for Romney, the poor bastard's going to contort himself inextricably by next summer. All his genuflecting to the extra-chromosomers won't mean a damned thing if there aren't any deeds to back up his words. Mitt is simply too willing to leave folks alone for the wingers' liking, so unless he plans on protesting an abortion clinic and/or sponsoring gay marriage legislation (erm, too late for that last, one supposes), perhaps he can start burnishing his quals for a Giuliani cabinet post (forgetting, of course, the latter's impending clash with the Brownback wing as well). The point is that there's just no pleasing these people, but since Henninger is those people, he's just okey-doke with that. Radical atheists, not so much. Here's one now!
Um, yes, asshole. What part of teaching thinly-disguised creationist myths in science classes are you having trouble comprehending? Someone had to finally take a stand, because these bozos keep infesting the public school system and bamboozling impressionable kids that one has to do with the other. You want to teach this stuff, start a comparative religion course. Otherwise, bugger off already.
I imagine that the brighter of these planarians might start figuring the problem out when we finally slip behind, say, Tanzania on the science aptitude ranking. As it is, we've only been behind a couple dozen countries for a decade or so. Is it directly because of the "Discovery" "Institute" goofballs and their bankrolled scams? Not completely, but it sure ain't helping.
If Henninger has a problem with the current tenor of the debate, he would do better to attend to the source, which is the people who cannot seem to leave church business in the church. This is a battle they have pitched, quite deliberately and overtly. They apparently thought that they would be the only ones to get their backs up for their principles; they are now finding out the hard way that not only is that not true, but that many of their own have had enough of this Gladys Kravitz bullshit.
Maybe they are starting to figure out on their own, as adult participants in a free society, that not only are they responsible for their actions and beliefs, but that they are also allowed to choose those things for themselves. They do not need the nannying jerkoffs and their crappy-pizza magnate backers to make those decisions for them and their families. They do not need some closet case preacher to help them find their way. Whether they decide to believe or disbelieve, the decision is theirs to make.
And because organized religion, politically and otherwise, has always been about controlling the lives of others, that is what scares the shit out of them the most -- that people might discover enough common sense on their own to not need the arrogant moral hypocrites at all. That would be something; Henninger coming to his senses would be something else.
[Update 12/28 10:00 AM PST: Seems we have attracted the attention of traditional Anglicans, as the "unhinged rant of the week". I am just hoping to squeak through the playoffs, and hope that my late-season entry keeps memories fresh enough to possibly snag the coveted unhinged rant of the year award. Not sure what the grand prize is, but I'm sure it will be to my rather exacting atheist hedonistic sybarite standards.
More seriously, while I always enjoy the extra traffic, I admit to being a little confounded as to why, if I am so out of my tree in asserting that people and not religious politicians (and make no mistake, people like Peter Akinola and James Dobson and Tom Monaghan are precisely that) should take responsibility for sorting out their own lives, there is no refutation, merely a short, barely contextual excerpt blandly prefaced. Look, whenever politico-religious mouthpieces such as Daniel Henninger disingenuously ignore the origins of the putative atheist blowback, it's almost always deliberate; there's generally a pretty clear agenda at work, no matter how passive-aggressively they try to conceal it. I understand why politically-motivated believers can't leave other people alone; I have no idea why actual people of faith -- any faith -- would have anything to do with such creeps.
The incontestible, irrefutable fact is that Akinola has quite literally endeavored to criminalize homosexuality. This is nothing short of pathological, and I am not even going to pretend to put up with the sheer gall on the part of people who bitch about being persecuted, even as they continue to persecute. Now, if that's "unhinged", then so be it.]